Review: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

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I know I’ve put this book into the fantasy category, but it’s not traditional fantasy, with wizards and magic and what have you. It’s more urban fantasy, or mythology.

If there was one book I read this year that I would call the ‘winning’ book for 2013 (no matter when it was published) this would be it. I don’t even have words to describe it properly. When I first started reading I wasn’t really expecting too much. A few friends had read it and given good ratings, but I didn’t know what to expect. You know those books that just pull you into the story and before you know it your eyes are sore from being open so long and as you look at the clock you realize that it’s three in the morning? It was that type of book.

The main characters are Chava, a clay golem, and Ahmad, a jinni. They don’t meet right away, first the reader lives through Chava’s creation, and then onward to New York City, the year 1899. The detail the writer puts into this book is nothing short of amazing. There’s so much culture and feeling behind every single character and action that you can’t help but realize just how human these two beings actually are. There are many other characters that dot the scene too, and their stories are just as interesting. That’s just one of the (many) reasons I found it hard to put the book down.

I really don’t want to give away the story here, and I know it’s shoddy to say “trust me, read it” but honestly, that’s what this book comes down to. I can guarantee that you won’t regret it. A huge congratulations to  Helene Wecker on her debut novel, what a way to get started.

5/5 stars

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